Multi-level marketing isn’t based on rational business logic. It’s not even built on irrational business logic. It’s ideology. It’s faith.
MLMs have become such a ubiquitous part of North American life that their tenets are rarely ever questioned. The sector holds enormous political sway. Millions of people join, leave and rejoin every year, almost all of them ending up poorer for the experience.
And to call it a cult is not just a cute turn of phrase. The cultishness of MLMs is essential to their success.
Featured in this episode: Robert L. Fitzpatrick, Julie Anderson
To learn more:
Ponzinomics: The Untold Story of Multi-Level Marketing by Robert L. Fitzpatrick
“How lobbying dollars prop up pyramid schemes” by Matt Stroud in The Verge
Amway: The Cult of Free Enterprise by Stephen Butterfield
Credits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Producer), Aviva Lessard (Additional Production) Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor), Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief)
Additional music from Audio Network
If you value this podcast, Support us! You’ll get premium access to all our shows ad free, including early releases and bonus content. You’ll also get our exclusive newsletter, discounts on merch, tickets to our live and virtual events, and more than anything, you’ll be a part of the solution to Canada’s journalism crisis, you’ll be keeping our work free and accessible to everybody.
You can listen ad-free on Amazon Music—included with Prime.